Gareth Southgate says he's "not surprised' by Jadon Sancho's struggles at Manchester United, with the England boss labelling the Premier League as a more "intense" competition than the Bundesliga.
Sancho completed a long-waited £73 million ($99m) move to United from Borussia Dortmund in the summer window, bringing to an end his three-year stay in Germany.
The 21-year-old emerged as one of the most exciting wingers in Europe at Westfalenstadion, but has been unable to hit the ground running at Old Trafford, and Southgate says he will need more time to adjust to the demands of top-flight English football.
What's been said?
Speaking after including Sancho in his 23-man squad for the Three Lions' next set of World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary in October, Southgate told reporters: “With Jadon, I’m not surprised.
“The Bundesliga is totally different, Dortmund is a big club but Manchester United is one of the biggest in the world.
“There’s some adaptation to that, there’s a definite adaptation to the league, you’re not going to get the goals and assists numbers anywhere near in our league, that you are in the Bundesliga.
“There are some very good teams but also it’s a good league for young players to develop in because there are some teams that aren’t at that level. Our league, every game is intense and tough and he’s probably just starting to realise that.”
The England manager went on to insist that be still believes in Sancho's potential despite a testing start to life in Manchester, and has vowed to do everything he can to help him get back on track.
“Does he deserve to be in on these performances over the last few weeks? Well probably not,” Southgate added. “But I think we feel we have invested in Jadon over a period of time, we believe he can get to a high level.
“I would like some time with him to chat with him and help that process that’s going on at Manchester United as well and I think for him to feel that we have belief in him at this point is a good message.”
Sancho's baptism of fire at United
Red Devils head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has thrown Sancho straight into the deep end at Old Trafford, with the England international featuring in eight of the club's first nine games in all competitions in 2021-22.
Sancho has yet to be involved in a single goal for his new club, though, with his latest blank coming in United's 2-1 Champions League victory over Villarreal in midweek.
However, the ex-Dortmund star did show signs of improvement in that Group F fixture, and could be in line to retain his place in Solskjaer's starting XI when United play host to Everton on Saturday.